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There is much debate about a first look at a wedding. If you’ve been a KH Bride you know how much I love it. In fact a big part of my bridal guide is dedicated to the first look because I think it is so important. Not everyone wants to incorporate this in their wedding but I want to share with you all the benefits to why you might want consider it.

My main reason for loving a first look is because they’re AWSOME! However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. I can talk about those brides because I was almost one of them! I wanted a REACTION….I wanted Ben to be so surprised and overcome with joy when I walked down the aisle. Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who wants that reaction? Luckily, I was able to have the best of both worlds, because Ben and I decided to share an intimate “First Look” moment on our wedding day,  AND I LOST IT when I walked in. I was in tears. Walking down the “aisle” ahead of time on my wedding day was a moment that I will treasure for a lifetime! And yes, I ugly girl cried. I’m so glad that happened before hundreds of people were watching me.

After experiencing my own wedding and shooting many  others…. I’ve come to this conclusion. Some brides love “traditions”…. but what a bride REALLY wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time, is a MOMENT. Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that moment. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. 

What I have found (this is starting to sound like a research paper!) is so ironic! Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows.

It’s before the ceremony and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to sink in and the calm, collected groom who was playing pool just a few short hours ago is now starting to feel a little anxious. So what happens next? The groom waits in a little room somewhere for his que from the coordinator. It seems like it’s taking FOREVER. Finally, the coordinator leans her head in and hurries the groom to get ready. With clammy hands, the groom enters the ceremony and what does he find? …. He finds anywhere from 80-300 people and they’re all looking where? Right at his face… because everyone has expectations and anticipation about his first reaction. This is the farthest thing from a private, intimate moment. Sure, it’s SO powerful and SO wonderful. …walking down the aisle was one of the BEST PARTS of my WHOLE wedding day!! It’s magical!! But when I walked down the aisle… Ben wasn’t a nervous wreck…he had spent the morning with me and our best friends and the pressure was OFF. By the time our ceremony rolled around he was ready to ENJOY our beautiful day!

The nerves were gone and when the nerves are gone… true emotions are free to be expressed. And OH were they expressed! (Seriously, I bawled!). So if I were to condense what I just wrote… basically, Brides and Grooms normally become incredibly nervous on wedding days…. even when you’re trying to be cool and collected.

For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place… no people, no on-lookers, no distractions…. and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride and not only would he get to see her… he could embrace her… cry with her…. kiss her… and ENJOY that moment with her for as LONG as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks… his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway.

Because they aren’t on a time crunch… they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer….. capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER…and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…. it doesn’t. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare… the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN.

There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!

After portraits are done the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here comes the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..she’s stunning….

ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.

Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my clients are not required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it, because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again, and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons…. Keep reading to find out more of the benefits of sharing your first look privately! For brides not interested in a First Look, let’s start chatting soon about how we’ll create a special timeline to fit everything in!

WHY IT’S WORTH IT

40% MORE PORTRAITS: You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your first home with! With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

ENJOY THE SURPRISE: You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeousness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

EXTEND YOUR DAY BY 3 HOURS: First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my client’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.

YOUR ONLY ALONE TIME: First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. When Ben and I saw each other, not only was it intimate, it was our only time to be alone the whole day! We cried and laughed and cried some more… and then that put us in the PERFECT mood for our romantic portraits. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

DIMINISHES NERVES: You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. Each of my grooms have told me afterwards, that they were SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!

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Hi I'm Kara. WEST MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHER, WIFE, AND MOM OF TWO. I STRIVE TO TEACH MORE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM YOUR IMAGES. I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE!

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